Dining Out Lately-Nashville

I haven’t blogged about my recent eats lately. Not because I haven’t  been dining out, just because I haven’t gotten around to it. But I have really enjoyed some local spots. Some new, some not so.

As I normally do, I am leaving off places that I didn’t enjoy. So, if you were with me and you think some places are missing, this is my way of not throwing certain spots under my bus of disapproval.

In random order:

Otaku South: Ramen

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Whoa. This place was off the chain. They started as a pop up style restaurant and they seem to have a fairly normal gig in the Nashville Farmer’s Market on Wednesday and Thursday nights right now. We tried just about everything on their menu from pork ramen to pickled vegetables. I loved it so much I have been dreaming about it ever since.  I follow them on instagram because they go neat places to learn all about ramen and I like to pretend I am tagging along.

update! you can now get this ramen here as well!

Pinewood Social: A little bit of everything

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I dig this place. Although bowling and karaoke were available, I stuck with eating and drinking since it was early in the day. We were there for brunch but I thought the food was fantastic.  Big ole delicious anchovies sat atop their kale caesar and the beef tongue reuben was one of the most unique sandwiches i have ever had. their drinks were creative and not at all too sweet.  if you’re wanting something boring dependable, they make a great cheeseburger.

Rotiers: Burgers

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i am not sure how i have missed this place all these years. i enjoy places that haven’t changed AT ALL since the 80’s? So, i should have wound up here sooner, but  will make up for it now. i selected the grilled cheese cheeseburger and i see no reason that i should ever stray from it. other people rave about other burgers on their menu but this, to me, is the best one.

the glow in the pictures is from the neon signs that adorn this place. i assure you,  these colors cannot be duplicated.

Cafe Fundamental: French Cuisine

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The service on the day we went, was laughable which made it entertaining. But the food was scrumptious.

Martinis as dirty as Christina Aguilera. Duck Confit Hash. and Beignets.



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I went to Chicago this summer. I had so much to say about this wonderful city,  that I decided to stew on it and come back later to give my report. And later is now. 8 months later. I have a friend who is traveling to Chicago this spring and I promised a post.

Now, the group didn’t do anything tremendously educational. It was mostly touristy sight seeing, a whole lot of the culinary scene, staying out late and sleeping late to recover. Taking in as much as we could in a short amount of time.  The trip was nothing short of legendary.

I want to go back as soon as possible. That’s the thing about traveling to cool places. I’d like to find new cities to love but there is always so much that I could still discover about the cities I have already been to. First world issues to be sure.

Sometimes I am just baffled that all my pictures are taken with my phone [and some, not so much]. But…it is the hungry apple after all.

Among my city favorites were:

the bean

adventures in babysitting building:  (Elizabeth Shue: what is it really called?!)

Ruxbin Restaurant: the greatest dining experience of my life thus far. byob.

Mott Street: restaurant whose a/c was broken and it was still a blast. that’s saying a lot in 90 degree weather.

Girl and The Goat: Bucket list restaurant where we were placed in outdoor seating no less. Check. This is also the place where I had goat cheek for the first time. how could that not be memorable?  it was delicious.

The J. Parker: bar on top of hotel. views of lake and city.

Hotel Lincoln: the hotel that the bar is on top of.

La Vieille Ferme: this wine was 6 bucks at trader joes and somehow it was so delicious. not really chicago related, but I did have it for the first time in chicago and Ruxbin is byob. i’m just sayin.

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Basic Waffle Recipe

photo 4Leggo of that Eggo. There’s a new waffle in town.

Having a basic waffle recipe in your arsenal is clutch. This one should suit most tastes, it’s not too sweet but it’s fluffy and doesn’t take long.

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They have a high calorie count (at 300 calories per waffle) but they are from scratch and could easily be made organic.  They also freeze beautifully, wrapped in wax paper and stored in a ziploc bag.

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Adding the milk.

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Here is what the whites should look like.

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You can make them as thick or thin as you like. I use a half cup measure for each waffle. I prefer that they not spill over the edge. Waffle makers are a bitch to clean. Am I right?

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For fun, i combined 1 cup of frozen berries, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch in a small pan and simmered it over low heat until it had the consistency of jam.

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Then i topped my waffles with it.

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Basic Waffles


1 1/3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

instructions and directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together. Stir well.

Separate the eggs. Put the yolds in the dry ingrediens and the whites into their own small mixing bowl.

Beat the whites until they stiffen.

Add milk, vanilla and melted butter to the dry ingredents and blend together until combines.

Fold in the egg whites and set aside for 5 minutes.

Ladle into waffle iron and cook until desired.

Makes 6-8

adapted from food.com

Valentine Menu

If you think going out on Valentine’s Day is as silly as I do, but you celebrate it because if you didn’t you’d send the wrong message then here are some delicious recipes for staying at home and making yourself (and/or someone you love) something delicious.


You could go out and fight crowds into restaurants with marked up menu prices while making kissy faces at someone you either love today as much as you did yesterday or someone you don’t really care for, you just didn’t want to spend this fake holiday alone.

Your choice…but I’d make some of these if I were you.

Salads and Apps


Healthier Caesar 


Warm Brussels Salad

butternut salad

Butternut Squash Salad

10 minute crostini

10 Minute Crostini



Chicken Piccata


Fish with Grapefruit Avocado Salsa

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Grilled Sirloin with Anchovy Butter


Spinach Stuffed Shells



Easy Cheesecake

Chicken Noodle Soup

Hello People!

My world, like everyone else’s, has been nuts-o. 2013 ended with lots of change and 2014 has begun with too much loss and a scattered schedule. Having said that it’s f-ing 2014. More than 20 days into in, in fact and I have yet to blog.

You may notice that these pictures (in particular the lighting) are much different. That is because I’ve moved! Yay! For fun, I am now renting in east Nashville for a while and therefore the kitchen isn’t exactly what my old one was but I’m just ever thankful for a big kitchen to cook in.

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To regain order-what do you say we start off with a delicious version of an old staple? Chicken Noodle Soup.  It’s been frigidly cold here and this soup really hit the spot. I served it up with this grilled cheese and everyone was pleased.

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Start out with chopped carrots, celery and green onion.

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After you saute the veggies, add the seasonings.

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I have no idea how I came up with this recipe. It was half researched half a combination of recipes. So I don’t really feel the need to give credit anywhere. However, the secret to this recipe was taking half the veggies out and blending the rest with an immersion blender. I don’t know where this came from, but they deserve credit-so if whoever did this is reading. Tell me it was you!

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Here are me and my boobs and a bunch of tiny birds, ladling out half of the vegetables.

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After the veggies are all blended, add the chicken and veggies that were maintained.


Add the ditalini and simmer until the pasta is done. You could really use any short pasta but it wouldn’t be as fun to say.

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This soup is so hearty and doesn’t even compare to the canned stuff.

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3 tablespoons butter

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, shredded/pulled

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

6 cups chicken broth (plus more if needed)(obviously boiling a chicken and making your own broth is an option, should you have time)

1 1/2 cups ditallini (uncooked) pasta

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon thyme



6 dashes of Louisiana hot sauce

the juice of half a lemon


saute carrots, celery and green onion in a large dutch oven or stock pot until tender, about 5 minutes. add garlic, parsley, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 10 twists of pepper. cook one minute more.

add chicken broth and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

using a slotted spoon, remove 1/2 of vegetables and set aside. blend remaining broth and veggies with an immersion blender. if you don’t have an immersion blender, blend the veggies you removed with some of the broth, in a standing blender.

add veggies back to the pot along with the shredded chicken. bring to a simmer and add ditalini. when the ditalini is al dente, about 8 minutes, taste the soup. if too much of the broth has evaporated, you may want to add a little more to your liking. add salt and pepper to taste as well as the lemon juice and hot sauce.

Even Better Jiffy Muffins

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Some times I just don’t have the time for from-scratch recipes. For example, when I want cornbread, it is just easier (and delicious!) to use a box of Jiffy. I still feel the need to do a little something extra though. So, while this isn’t really a recipe, per say, it is a way to make Jiffy even better.

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1/4 cup of cheese and a 1/4 cup of sour cream is all there is to it

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the two additional ingredients make the muffins bigger, cheesy and less crumbly

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Even Better Jiffy Muffins


1 box jiffy corn bread

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

2 ounces of sharp cheddar, grated (about 1/4 cup, heaping)

1/4 cup sour cream

instructions and directions: 

Heat oven on 400 degrees.

In a bowl, mix all ingredients. Let sit on the counter in the bowl for 5 minutes. Spoon into greased 6 cup muffin tin. Bake 15 minutes or until muffins begin to brown.

Turkey Day and Leftover Recipe Ideas

Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.

If you are needing help with your Thanksgiving Day recipes, here are some ideas!


Butternut Squash Pasta Bake 

Mac and Cheese 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins 

Pumpkin Waffles 


If you need something to do with your left overs…

Thanksgiving Grilled Cheese

Chicken Turkey Pot Pie

Italian Dressing “Packet” Recipe!


I think this recipe will mark the fact that I have replaced every packet in my kitchen with the real thing. Except bullion cubes. Anyone have a recipe for that? 😦

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Fajita Seasoning, Ranch Dressing, Onion Soup Mix, and Taco Seasoning have all been made and now it’s time for Italian dressing.

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You start out by mixing your dry ingredients. You could do this on a day where you don’t really need dressing, if you’re just overloaded with free time.

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It will keep in an air tight container.

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This recipe is simple, it comes together fast and it keeps well in the fridge.

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Italian Dressing Packet Recipe


2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

25 grinds of fresh pepper

instructions and directions:

combine all ingredients in an air tight container.

for dressing: mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1/2-3/4 of a cup (depending on how oily you like your Italian dressing) of canola oil  in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of the mix. Cover and refrigerate.

BLT Appetizer Bites

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Twas a lovely weekend filled with out of town-wedding-fun, birthday shenanigans and lot’s of awesome appetizers which reminded me that I wanted to share this recipe.

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Though it’s not much of a recipe because they are so easy!!

Have I ever mentioned that I have a really bad habit of combating compliments? It’s not like I am complimented constantly and this hinders my day to day life, but it’s silly and I try to stop to no avail. For example: if someone tells me they like my shirt, I feel inclined to tell them that I got a great deal on it! “I only paid $20 bucks for it!”. Or if someone tells me they like my hair in a ponytail, I insist on mentioning that it is only in a ponytail because my alarm clock didn’t go off and I didn’t want to be late.  You get the point.

This appetizer is one that people devour quickly and is raved over even in its simplicity. I do the thing where I try to smile adoringly, as if I have really accomplished something, when in fact, I just spread some mayo on a piece of white bread. Then I start insisting that  there truly is nothing to them, which is true and give away the recipe in 30 seconds or less.

So here is a recipe to use if you are fishing for compliments. You’re bound to get a few!

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Bacon. You’re going to want this crunchy.

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Using a small round cookie cutter, like one  you might use for a biscuit, cut bread. You should be able to get 3 rounds out of each piece.

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Save these for a homemade bread pudding. (recipe to come)

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Slather with mayo and a sprinkle of the Cavendar’s Greek seasoning.

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Top with bacon, tomato and basil.

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Prepare for compliments.



1 loaf white sandwich bread, cut in circles

6 pieces of bacon, cooked crispy

1 (1lb) package campari tomatoes, thinly sliced

8 large basil leaves, ribboned

olive oil mayonaise, about 1/4 cup

Cavendar’s Greek seasoning

sea salt

instructions and directions:

lay cut t tomatoes on a paper towel or kitchen towel. sprinkle very lightly with salt and press between another towel to take away some of the moisture.

spread each bread circle with mayonnaise and sprinkle each circle with a pinch of Cavendar’s. Top with tomato, bacon and basil.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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If you’re a fan of the lettuce wraps at a little know chain that rhymes with B.Chef. Wang’s, then I think you are going to love these copy cat lettuce wraps. Now, I’m not exactly sure what is in their recipe, but I took a guess and came pretty close.  I enjoyed this variation and although they were hard to get a handle on, they’re hard to maneuver in the restaurants too so it was win in my book.

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You begin with a finely diced onion and a pound of ground chicken breast. I have a grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid Mixer and so I can buy chicken breast and then grind it at home. This is very helpful if you shop at a warehouse or buy in bulk and it is less expensive than buying pre-ground chicken.

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In addition to the chicken and onion, we have diced mushrooms and water chestnuts (which this recipe “requires” and I am in favor of, but usually am not a fan).

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I beefed mine up a little with the addition of toppings. Cashews, avocado, and cucumber joined the party.

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1 pound ground chicken breast

1 small onion, diced

1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, diced

1/2 cup water chestnuts, diced

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

1 tablespoon sriracha

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch green onions, chopped

simple drizzle

4 tablespoons low sodium soy

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon sriracha

lettuce cups (bib, iceberg etc)


diced cucumber





instructions and directions:

combine 1/4 cup soy, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon sriracha and 2 minced garlic cloves in a small bowl and set aside.

heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil over medium. cook chicken and onion together until juices run clear and water evaporates, approximately 10 minutes. add mushrooms and water chestnuts and cook over medium low for 10 minutes more. pour in soy/hoisin mixture and toss to coat. stir in green oinons.

in another small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons soy, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon sriracha for dipping. stir well to dissolve sugar.

scoop chicken into lettuce cups and top with: cashews, avocado, lime, cilantro and cucumber if desired. drizzle with sauce.